Hedge Trimming Heads up – Watch Out For The Birdies

Now. Even someone with as little gardening know-how as I (I the female opposite of Midas, I the black-fingered queen of darkness for whom nothing touched in the garden turns to gold, I who have the touch of Hindu demon Bhasmasura, with the gift of turning things to ashes when I get my delicate little gardening gloves out) even I have realised it’s coming up to time for a bit of hedge maintenance. And even I have noticed both my esteemed, if creaky, colleagues Drew and Dick have begun to look at MowDirect’s goodly range of hedgetrimmers and started giving sage and timely advice in the time-honoured way of the sought after wise men of old, the revered gurus who can whisper the secrets of the universe in your ear but can’t remember where their reading glasses are and forget where they live.

Joking aside, as it happens I found both Dick’s treatise on top Japanese hedgetrimmers yesterday very informative and Drew’s Dos and Don’t of hedge trimming last week very edifying, especially the health and safety bits and I, for one, will be taking notice. You will definitely not find me  standing on a wobbly stepladder with a glass of prosecco in one hand trying to trim the privet with a rusty hedgetrimmer this summer. No way. My erstwhile friend and grouchy landscape gardener Brody can do it!

But, as one of our customers recently pointed out on our Facebook page,  there is one ‘Do and Don’t’ that Mr Drew Hardy has missed out. It involves Birds.

To you it’s just a hedge. To Mr and Mrs Birdy, and the little Birdies it’s 25 Acacia Avenue!

It’s quite important, before you attempt any hedge work that you make sure there are no birds nesting in your hedge and, if there are, that you make sure you don’t damage or harm the nest in any way. In fact. I would suggest that an all round check on wildlife, especially nesting birds, is not a bad idea before you launch your assault on your leylandii leaves. You don’t want homeless hedgehogs, outraged owls and furious foxes knocking on your door demanding compensation or shelter like a story from some episode of Percy the Park Keeper. 

Seriously though, I didn’t know this but, according to the excellent RHS website, it is actually an offence (Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981) to ‘damage or destroy’ any nest if it is being built or is being used. Although, according to the RSPB,  birds usually nest in the centre of hedges, it is probably best to avoid those areas if you are trimming.

This seems fair enough to me. I’d be fairly annoyed if I’d just built a brand new home and someone came at it with a pair of giant blades, and birds whose nests are threatened can get very angry.

“Don’t make me angry…you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry”

The last thing you need is angry birds getting all pecky and giving it the full Hitchcock in your garden. And when I say angry birds, I am not referring to either the whimsical mobile ‘phone game or the female cast of Eastenders. I’m talking the full flying fury fest. Nesting mother birds can get quite cross if disturbed.

So keep an eye open, watch out for mother birds flying into the hedge with food and if you do find out there is a nest, maybe wait until the young have flown before you do any serious work on that part of your hedge.

Oh, and Just FYI, the RHS also points out that the nesting season is generally thought to go from the beginning of March  to the end of July. But always check if you are not sure. Good luck.

See ya.   Holly

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